It has been 245 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. On Wednesday, the situation on the battlefield remains fairly the same as the Ukrainian forces are trying to push back the Russian military in the east and the south, while the Russian forces pushing in the Donbas.
Strategic futility in Bakhmut
The infamous mercenary group Wagner Group has been leading the fight in Bakhmut, in the south of the Donbas. But despite months of offensive ground operations, the Wagner mercenaries have only managed to capture a few miles of territory, with the Ukrainian city standing defiant. The assault on Bakhmut is becoming increasingly political for Russia rather than of strategic value.
The impressive Ukrainian counteroffensive in the east in September essentially negated any strategic significance that capturing Bakhmut would have for the Russian forces. At the time, the Russian military was trying to link two offensive prongs (one from the north and one from Bakhmut in the south) and encircle the Ukrainians in the Donbas. But the liberation of Lyman and Izium destroyed the northern prong.
In the east, the Ukrainian forces continue with their attempts to reach the key logistical hub of Svatove, while in the south, the Ukrainian military is advancing slowly but deliberately toward Kherson City.
Every day, the Ukrainian military is providing an update on their claimed Russian casualties. These numbers are official figures and haven’t been separately verified.
However, Western intelligence assessments and independent reporting corroborate, to a certain extent, the Ukrainian casualty claims. For example, the Oryx open-source intelligence research page has visually verified the destruction or capture of more than 1,400 Russian tanks (which amounts to more tanks than the combined armor capabilities of France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom) and more than 5,300 military vehicles of all types; this assessment has been confirmed by the British Ministry of Defense.
The same independent verification exists for most of the other Ukrainian claims. Recently, the Pentagon acknowledged that the Russian military has lost thousands of combat vehicles of all types, including over 1,000 tanks, and dozens of fighter jets and helicopters.
Furthermore, more recent reports that are citing Western intelligence officials indicate that the Russian military has suffered up to 50,000 casualties (killed and wounded) in the war so far.
In the summer, Sir Tony Radakin, the British Chief of the Defence Staff, recently told the BBC that the West understands that more than 50,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded in the conflict thus far. If we were to take the Ukrainian figures as accurate, the number mentioned by Sir Radakin is on the low side of the spectrum.
Yet, it is very hard to verify the actual numbers unless one is on the ground. However, after adjusting for the fog of war and other factors, the Western official numbers are fairly close to the Ukrainian claims.
As of Wednesday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 68,900 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 5,351 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 4,076 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 2,628 tanks
- 1,686 artillery pieces
- 1,379 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 271 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 379 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 248 attack and transport helicopters
- 350 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 192 anti-aircraft batteries
- 149 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 16 boats and cutters
- four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems
For most of May, the Russian military suffered the greatest casualties around the Slovyansk, Kryvyi Rih, and Zaporizhzhia areas, reflecting the heavy fighting that was going on there. As the days and weeks went on, most of the heavy fighting shifted toward the direction of Bakhmut, southeast of Slovyansk, around Severodonetsk, Lyman, and Lysychansk.
Then the location of the heaviest casualties shifted again westwards toward the area of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — where one of Europe’s largest nuclear plants is located — as a result of a Ukrainian counteroffensive in and around the area.
Then, the concentration of casualties once more shifted back to the Donbas, especially in and around Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, the two urban centers the Russians managed to capture in July. For most of August, the heaviest fighting took place in the Donbas, where the Russian forces unsuccessfully tried to breach the Ukrainian defenses and capture the Donetsk province. But lately, most of the fighting has shifted to the south where the Ukrainian military is mounting a major counteroffensive to recapture Kherson. It is now there, on the southern front, that the Russian military is suffering the heaviest casualties.
On Wednesday, Ukrainian forces continued to inflict the heaviest in the direction of Bakhmut, which is located in the south of the Donbas, and Kramatorsk, which is located in the central of the Donbas.
The stated goal of the Russian military for the renewed offensive in the east is to establish full control over the pro-Russian breakaway territories of Donetsk and Luhansk and create and maintain a land corridor between these territories and the occupied Crimea.
Feature Image: Russian President Putin (The Presidential Press and Information Office)
Read more from Sandboxx News
- Why Russia accused China’s J-20 of stealing its stealth fighter design
- How Russia’s culture of lies is dooming Putin’s invasion of Ukraine
- By using Iranian Shahed-136 drones is Russia admitting that its defense industry can’t keep up?
- Watch: Taliban pilot can’t fly an American Black Hawk helicopter and crashes it to the ground
- The Nazi plan to exterminate Odessa’s Jews in WWII